Palazzo Madama and Casaforte degli Acaja are an architectural and historical complex located in the central Piazza Castello in Turin. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the Savoy Residences serial site.
It is a combination of two thousand years of Turin's history, from the ancient eastern gate of the Roman colony of Julia Augusta Taurinorum to a defensive stronghold, then to a real Castle, a symbol of Savoyard power until at least the sixteenth century, when the current Royal Palace, as the seat of the Duke of Savoy. The western part of the first medieval complex was later called Palazzo Madama because it was first inhabited by Madama Cristina of Bourbon-France, called the "first Royal Madam", in the period 1620-1663 approximately, then by Maria Giovanna Battista of Savoy-Nemours, called the "second Madama Reale", in the period 1666-1724. It was for the latter that the current facade was designed, in 1716-1718, by the court architect Filippo Juvarra and represents, with the masterpiece of the staircase, it is one of the most fascinating achievements of the European Baroque.
In the nineteenth century the building was the seat of the subalpine Senate and then of the first Senate of the Kingdom of Italy. Since 1934 it has housed the Civic Museum of Ancient Art. Inside it is possible to freely visit the Juvarra staircase and the area of ​​the medieval court. Here, in the excavation, the different construction phases of the building can be recognized; remains of the Roman gate (called "decumana") are also visible in the towers incorporated into the medieval facade.
The visit, therefore, includes two paths that intertwine: one dedicated to the history of the rooms, the other to the meaning of the works of art they house.
The itineraries are developed on four floors, in an itinerary through time: in the basement, at the level of the Roman foundations, the collections of the Middle Ages, with stone sculptures and goldsmiths and access to the Medieval Garden, an oasis of nature and silence of the heart of the city; on the ground floor, where there are the most numerous testimonies of the fifteenth-century castle, the arts from the Gothic to the Renaissance and the Portrait of a man by Antonello da Messina. On the first floor, inside the baroque rooms where the Royal Madame lived, the arts of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with the picture gallery, the furniture by Piffetti and Prinotto and the sumptuous decorations of the rooms. On the second floor, the decorative arts of all eras: ceramics, ivories, goldsmiths, fabrics, glass ... The Museum was created in 1861 by the City of Turin to collect and preserve the heritage of the region and to collect examples of excellence in artistic production in the decorative arts. You will encounter works by artists and great craftsmen who will help you understand what the culture and taste of an alpine and border region was like, ruled for six centuries by the Savoy dynasty.